Photo: Mona Ødegaard
Terje Tønnesen is one of Norway’s most revered musicians, with a career spanning over forty years of music-making as violinist and artistic leader. Praised by public and press alike for his virtuosity and artistic individualism, Terje Tønnensen has established a firm place in the Nordic classical music scene through his position as Artistic Director of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra (1977 - august 2021) and concertmaster of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra (1983 - 2019). He held the same position with the Camerata Nordica in Sweden for two decades until 2016.
After his critically acclaimed debut in 1972 which Norway’s major newspaper called “a dazzling debut without any parallel”, he furthered his studies with Max
Rostal in Switzerland. In 1977, he was appointed Artistic Director to the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, a position he shared with Iona Brown in 1981-2002. Tønnesen has also maintained a distinguished career as a soloist by making regular appearances with major orchestras in Scandinavian countries as well as making extensive tours to various parts of Europe, USA, China and Russia.
His recordings as the orchestra’s leader have received considerable critical acclaim and have received awards including the Spellemann Prize. Tønnesen has also done a number of recordings as soloist and chamber musician, and recorded several works commissioned for him.
In recent years Tønnesen has composed music for several theatre productions and devoted his time to arranging various chamber and orchestral works. A passionate advocate for finding new ways of presenting classical music, Tønnesen has collaborated with colleagues from across various art forms, including American stage director Bud Beyer and choreographer Ingun Bjørnsgaard.
Terje Tønnesen has won several international awards and recognition such as the Grieg Prize and Lindeman Prize. In September 2015, Terje Tønnesen was appointed Knight First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav. He performs on a 1756 Guadagnini lent to him by Dextra Musica, Sparebankstiftelsen.